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Leo9

Letter from a fired professor

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Hey guys, 

So I'm in a bit of situation here. 

I have taken 4 classes with the professor all were 300 and 400 level courses and i got As in all. I know that he was in administrative leave and then eventually got fired because of some misconduct with other professor and some students complained about some insulting and sexual contexts were spoken on some topics. Any who, the professor knows me well, i had done some good job on his classes regardless i feel like those are kind of the professors whom i should ask LOR from. Should i still ask him for LOR? Does it even matter that he was fired? 

 

Thank you, 

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I wouldn't. You don't know what the admissions committee knows about him and if there are any deep emotional responses to his misconduct. I would not want to be tainted with the same brush, just in case. 

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I would like to think that faculty will not hold a bad prof's students accountable for the bad prof's actions. From my own experience working with students in the fallout of similar situations, the faculty seem to work very hard to ensure that when a bad prof is fired, their students and postdocs (who have done nothing wrong) aren't negatively affected.

So, I would say that in a rare case where a letter is absolutely required from a fired prof (e.g. the prof was your PhD advisor), it may be okay to use such a letter (I know people who have and have been successful), depending on the scenario. However, this is not your case. 

In general, a letter that says you got As in 4 classes they taught isn't going to be a very good letter in the first place. The committee can see that you have As from your transcript. So the risks that @lemma brings up are not worth this letter. Instead, if you don't have anyone else to ask for a letter that says more than "did well in classes", my suggestion would be to find the next prof in your department that knows your coursework and ask them to write you a letter about all of your 300+ and 400+ level classes. They can mention your performance in their own class specifically but also say that you did well in the other 4 classes (and whatever else you took).

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I wouldn't get a letter from someone who's been fired for misconduct unless I absolutely had to. In your case, the letter you describe doesn't sound terribly strong, unless there's more he can say than what you told us. I would suggest scheduling a meeting with the Director of Undergraduate Studies, to talk about this issue. If this is the strongest letter you can get, maybe it can come from the DUS instead of this prof, or maybe it can be co-written. 

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